Mark from 42Freeway heads back to Bellmawr's massive Direct Connect project, to review what has changed in the last few months. And yes, there are new things to talk about. This update is really a 7 min YouTube video (bottom of article) but we'll highlight here in writing and photos the things in the video.
The Manrua/Pitman/Glassboro area continues to ride the beer and alcohol wave, with Mantua’s Neck of the Woods Brewing closing in on a late April to early May opening! 42Freeway visited the brewery back on March 5th and got to meet the awesome guys behind this brewery, their unique location and awesome brewery set-up!
And guess what.. Neck of the Woods isn’t the only new brewery coming! But more on that in the next post!
First the location… the new brewery is located in the massive Total Turf indoor sports complex on Lambs Rd in Mantua. I have plans for an upcoming post on Total Turf.. .but if you haven’t been there, you’ll be amazed that an indoor facility of this size is in our area! The guys at Neck of the Woods brewing said 80,000 people a month come to the facility for training and tournaments… and yes while the key draws will be delicious beer, a unique brewing setup, an awesome tasting room and great ownership… they are also hoping that the Total Turf foot traffic will be a key factor in their long term success.
Total Turf is actually two very large indoor facilities with a variety of offices and business. Neck of the Woods is in the new right-side section, with it’s main exterior entrance to the rear of the building. They also have hallway access to the interior of the building, and a window from the brewery into one of the athletic areas!
Back in early March I spent about an hour with the owner/brewers of Neck of the Woods! First let me just say… with my writing of 42Freeway I’ve been talking to more and more area brewery owners, and across the board South Jersey is very fortunate to have such really awesome people opening up all these breweries. These breweries are not faceless corporate national places… it’s people that if you knew them outside of the brewery you’d be happy to hang with at… well a brewery! ha.
Which brings me to Frank Price, Paul McIntyre, Bruce Lowden and Dave Surdam.
This group of guys have a story with familiar roots. One of the friends was given a $60 plastic beer brewing kit for Christmas, they started experimenting and brewing for friends, and eventually made the leap into “let’s make this a business!”.
I spent most of the evening chatting with Frank, who gave me a tour of the facility and much of the background. Frank is a nurse anesthesiologist, working in the same hospital as Bonesaw Brewery’s Rich! Rich was brewing long before Frank was, but it seems their friendship which developed at work is what sparked both of these innovative and successful guys to take beer brewing to the next level.
Frank shared how the initial brewing experiments quickly moved to his garage, and how his garage became the meeting place for the friends who later became Neck of the Woods. You can appreciate that the garage was a popular spot for the neighborhood to hang out!
In my early March tour, to my untrained eye the tasting room and brewing room seemed 90+% ready to go. The tasting room has a lot of character to it… themed in a rustic but clean woodsy setting. The large bar features a rough cut bartop which was painstakingly sanded and prepared by “master woodworker” Paul. In fact, almost all of the tasting room work was done by the team. Besides the large bar, another distinctive character building feature is the large barn facade on the tall dividing wall. All of which were created by the Neck of the Woods team.
Even the hanging lamps were hand crafted from bottles… which came from one of the partner’s family businesses!
Frank then walked me through their brewing “infrastructure” and process. I really feel fortunate to get these deep dives into the beer brewing process! You’d think it would all be the same for the breweries, but it seems every single one has a different approach to brewing, with various features, benefits and ideas.
And it’s all so new to me I feel bad that much of it goes over my head! ha!
The beer that is poured in the tasting room has never sat in a keg. It comes directly from the tanks!
Some key aspects of the brewing set-up… it’s a 10 barrel SS Brewtech system. A unique twist or two that sticks out to me is they have 6 horizontal lagering tanks, which are plumbed to serve beer directly to the tasting room taps! So the positioning does allow them to fill kegs from the tanks, but a valve and insulated piping leads to a refrigeration unit and then to the taps. The beer that is poured in the tasting room has never sat in a keg. It comes directly from the tanks! According to Frank, this is the only brewery in South Jersey and further that has this setup. Talk about fresh beer!!
The entire system is highly engineered. If you look at their bio descriptions on their websites, these are smart guys… and they took those skills and applied it to the brewing facility so that the could most efficiently brew beer, move it to the next brewing step, and keep beer fresh for the tasting room and keg filling. They even color coded the lines and created a valve system for the beer tap lines!
When I visited in early March the guys were not brewing yet, but they had some of their garage brewed “bourbon cask” beers available for me to try… and it was delicious! My son-in-law Brandon would’ve loved to have been there as he loves the bourbon infused beers.
A Facebook post on March 22nd says their very first batch of beer “was in the books”, and they are working on brewing their other varieties of beer.
They then go on to say that they are targeting a late April to Early May opening
Neck of the Woods Brewing
614 Lambs Road Suite 7
Pitman, New Jersey 08071